We’re all so busy rushing to grab the last of the €2.99 kayak & coffee machine combos these days, we sometimes forget to look up from our receipt to see the ghosts in the machine that are all around us.
Such as The Old Mill in sunny Killincarrig, that has had to scoot over into the corner to make way for the mega-cheap supermarket Aldi.
Not quite old enough to be listed, The Old Mill was first mentioned in 1837, in Lewis’ Topographical, when it was noted that Killincarrig village consisted of one hundred and sixty-eight inhabitants living in 23 houses. Killincarrig House was the home of Arthur James Esq, who, Topographical noted, ‘has an extensive mill here‘. Later known as Courtney’s Mill, and later still, purchased by the Hammond Lane Foundry in 1910, this local landmark eventually became part of the Burnaby Estate before the Wicklow County Council took it over. Currently, the Old Mill is in private ownership.
Most likely having come into existence in response to Foster’s Corn Law of 1874, structurally, the ground floor contained the main mill, with a chain sack hoist taking incoming grain to upper storage floors. That newly ground grain would then be gathered into chutes from the grinding stones overhead. It was on the first floor that the mill stones operated, via spur and pinion wheels, from the main gearing below. The second floor contained the hoppers that fed the mill stones.
Over on the Kilcoole side was a specially constructed mill pond where the incoming water was controlled and directed toward the mill wheel – the water coming from a diversion from the Tree Trout River.
When the Corn Laws were terminated in the 1850s, Irish corn lost its preferential treatment on the British market, which, coupled with the availability of cheap corn from America, signaled the beginning of the end for the Old Mill. A new roller system introduced in 1883 pretty much sealed the deal.